Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Cooperative Bank (KSCB) will make efforts to bring down the non-performing assets (NPAs) of the bank from Rs.489.81 crore to Rs.300 crore during the current year, KSCB president Koliakode N. Krishnan Nair said here on Thursday.

Mr. Nair told reporters that steps had already been initiated to recover loan arrears to the extent possible during the current year. The NPAs of the bank amounted Rs.489.81 crore or 22.9 per cent of the outstanding loans as on July 31, 2008, and as a follow-up to the steps taken by former president Kadakampally Surendran, it has been decided to bring it down to Rs.300 crore. Mr. Nair clarified that he was carrying forward the steps taken by Mr. Surendran and had not taken any decision without the consent of the board.

The recovery proceedings had not been progressing as expected owing to a variety of reasons.

He said many of the loans extended during the period of the previous director board led by the United Democratic Front (UDF) between 2001 and 2006 “in violation of norms” could not be recovered for lack of clear addresses of the loanees or proper guarantees. Besides, many State-level apex cooperative institutions had not repaid or renewed the loans and the arrears stood at Rs.168.90 crore as on July 31, 2008. The institutions included Hantex, Coirfed, Marketfed, Rubbermark and Rubco and the bank had approached the government seeking help to recover the arrears, Mr. Nair said.

The bank’s deposits had grown beyond the targeted level during the current year. The deposits stood at Rs.3,924.94 crore against the target of Rs.3,650 crore for the year.

He said the bank had not received any refinance assistance from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for the current year. This had affected the agriculture lending programme.